Sunday, November 18, 2007
Star Wars Death Star
Death Star (Star Wars)
by Michael Reeves and Steve Perry
This book seemed to have popped up out of nowhere. The dates for the release kept changing. The heads at Lucas Films did release the advertisement for it. I walked into a local book store and spotted it hidden among the shelves. For those that spend some time in the Expanded Universe (EU), we learn in Episode II and in the Battlefront II video game that this weapon was in development even before the onset of the Clone Wars. Wilhuff Tarkin of Eriadu had Imperial military ambitions even before the rise of Palpatine in the Galactic Senate.
Both Michael Reeves and Steve Perry worked on the wonderful Star Wars Medstar duology which featured Uli, Bariss Offee, Den Dhur, I-5 and other fleshed out characters that gave life to the background of the Clone Wars. The events in this book begin a little over a year before the events in Episode IV. They end in the destruction of the firsts Death Star at Yavin 4. Perry and Reeves introduce new characters but also bring back characters that most Star Wars fans are familiar with.
Darth Vader and Wilhuff Tarkin who is newly given the title of Grand Moff are given several chapters on their own. Admiral Daala makes several appearances. We learn more about the relationship between Tarkin and Daala. Admiral Motti who everyone remembers for doubting the Force in Episode IV is given much more background then in the movie. Dr. Kornell “Uli” Divini of the Medstar duology also returns. His luck continues to deteriorate as the story unfolds. The readers are introduced to Seargent Nova Stihl, a prison guard who is also a martial artist, Celot Ratua Dil, a Zelosian thief who also has his share of bad luck, Lieutenant Commander Villian “Vil” Dance, an ace TIE fighter pilot, Teela Kaarz, an architech who chose to support the wrong political party and sentenced to life in prison, Master Chief Petty Officer Tenn Graneet, a career artillery gun men who dreams of being the Non Commissioned Officer who runs the big gun on the Death Star, and Memah Roothes, a Twi'lek cantina owner who gets a chance to manage a cantina on the Death Star.
Eventually and in some form, each person makes their way to the Death Star and cross paths. When the Death Star is fully operational and is used to commit several atrocities each person begins to question their roles in the process. Even Memah Roothes, who runs a cantina, sees her indirect role in the overall grind of the Imperial military. The characters make the story realistic.
After the first 2/3's of the book, we are thrown into the events in Episode IV. Vader attacks the Tantive IV over Tattooine, Princess Leis is brought on board the Death Star to be tortured, she is rescued, Obi Wan Kenobi fights Darth Vader, and the Death Star is destroyed. This time, we see the events through the eyes of the supporting cast. We see how the news of all these events are viewed by the crewmen and woman of the Death Star. This gives a different perspective from the view of the Imperial servicemen.
The only flaw is that the actual origin of the Death Star plans are still a mystery. It is only alluded that the original plans were put together by the Geonosians and improved upon by several architects, technicians, and scientists such as Qui Xux at the Maw Installation. Even Tarkin does not say how he encountered the plans. We know he became its number one advocate but other than that, it's origins are obscure.
The book is a must read. It adds depth to the entire Galactic Civil War and puts faces on the ground troops and pilots in the Imperial military. The assumption is that everyone in the Imperial military toed the party line. It was cool to encounter people who were force sensitive but had no clue that they were in such characters as Nova Stihl. We also learn about how Darth Vader was able to push out the memory of Padme Amidala. Vader still questions the Emperor's loyalty to him even after almost 20 years of service.